Mary Conrad leads Microbiology and in vitro biology efforts at Axial Biotherapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company harnessing the gut-brain axis to develop novel therapeutics to improve the quality of life for people with Central Nervous System diseases and disorders, including Parkinson’s Disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Axial utilizes a mechanism-based approach to discover CNS therapies inspired by the microbiome. Mary’s experience includes leading cross-functional teams in projects from exploratory through candidate selection stages to discover antibiotics and microbiome-targeted therapeutics, as well as building teams and drug discovery capabilities in microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and the microbiome. Mary studied at Princeton University and in the department of bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mechanism-Based Microbiome-Inspired Drug Discovery
This talk will discuss moving beyond identifying associations between the microbiome and disease status to generating and testing hypotheses and driving mechanism-based drug discovery for microbiome-inspired targets. An example targeting GI dysfunction and associated symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder will be provided to illustrate potential approaches.
Understanding mechanism of action and translating microbiome science into commercially viable therapeutics remains the biggest challenge in this emerging field. With that said, pharma and biotech across many different therapeutic indications and modalities are united in this global effort to bring novel microbiome-based therapies and diagnostics into the clinical domain. This session will include some of the most impactful and promising areas of the microbiome field: